Happy July, everyone! We started the year with big goals and high hopes for our blogs, and it's time to do a mid-year check in. While it's great to have goals, what's the use of them if they're not being measured, revisited and assessed, right?
As we head into the second half of 2013, let's take a look at some of the things that can help us think about the what, how and why we blog.
Now is a perfect time as any to pat yourself on the back for the achievements you're proud of, switch up the things that aren't working for you, and brainstorm exciting new content ideas. Have a seat in a quiet place, grab a pen & notepad (or tablet and favorite note-taking app), sip some wine and take some time to have a good, hard look at your blog. If this is the first time you've stopped to reflect on your blog – great! Taking time to do this has always been helpful for me and I encourage you to do it as often as you can. These are a just a few questions I ask myself:
What do your analytics tell you?
Numbers don't lie, and in this case, they can be the friend that tells it like it is. Dive into your Google Analytics dashboard and take a look at your traffic over the past few months. Most of us can probably say we'd like to see more traffic, but how and what are you going to do to make that happen? Your analytics can help guide you in the right direction. Where are people coming from to get to your blog (social media, other blogs, etc.?) What keywords are driving them to you? What are your most popular posts? All of these are great indicators of the kinds of things you could blog about more often.
Have you made a new blog friend?
Seriously. Every blogger needs a friend they can talk to who understands the painstaking effort it takes to edit photos, do research, pull affiliate links, and write a post – let alone promoting a blog and keeping content fresh and relevant. In my opinion, you can never have too many blogger buddies with which to brainstorm (and maybe occasionally bitch) with. Many cities and regions have blogger groups or collectives you could join, or you can use social media to make virtual connections with fellow bloggers. You've always got a pretty stacked team of IFB contributors here who'd be happy to chat blogging with you 🙂
Do you have an editorial calendar and idea bank?
In other words, how are your organizing when you write posts and what you write about? I like to keep my editorial calendar in a Google spreadsheet, with tabs for different ideas I've come up with: future post topics, possible series or themes, people I want to interview, brands I'd like to work with, etc. IFB has another example of how to set up an editorial calendar here. I'm not always good at updating my editorial calendar regularly, but having one that also serves as an “idea bank” at least helps me keep track of things I want to write about, in a place that's easy to visualize when I have time to write about it. Keeping an editorial calendar makes it worlds easier to write a batch of posts ahead of time, and go about with your week.
What's working (or not) right now?
It's always good to take at what is and isn't working for you and your blog at any given time. Your analytics will tell you what your readers want, but you should also think about what you want out of your blog. Is there a series or theme that worked for awhile but just isn't relevant to you anymore? Do you have too many ads or outdated blogroll links in your sidebar? Could your About page or contact info need a refresh? Sometimes we get so into the grind of writing our next post that we forget to take a step back and look at everything else.
Do you need a change?
When your blog feels more like a dreaded chore or another notch on your to-do list, it may be time for a change. Maybe you're in need of a blog design makeover, new logo or layout. Maybe you're sick of doing just outfit posts and need to brainstorm other things you can write about. Maybe you need to focus your talents on work or family, and need to take a blog break. Give yourself the space to recognize when you need a change. It can be easy to get stuck in a rut, or feel like you owe your readers an explanation, or worse – posts for the sake of having new posts. You started your blog for a reason, and it's up to you to define what that looks like over time.
[Image Source Shutterstock.com]